Round Rock Express 7, Chihuahuas 3 (F/10 innings)

Key Statistics: RF Tirso Ornelas 3-for-4, 2B; C Chandler Seagle 1-for-3, 2B, RBI, BB; RHP Jose Espada 3 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 3 K; RHP Michel Baez 2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, K; RHP Nick Hernandez 2 IP K; RHP Sean Poppen (L, 1-3) 2.2 IP, 4 H, 5 R (4 ER), 2 BB

Jose Espada has been solid at both San Antonio and El Paso. (Photo: Jorge Salgado)

Prospect Watch: Through regulation, this was a low-scoring game at Southwest University Park, as the Chihuahuas tied the game at two in the ninth but couldn’t bring the winning run home with the bases loaded. In the tenth, a two-run error by right fielder Tirso Ornelas opened the gates to a five-run onslaught as Round Rock put the game out of reach. … Jose Espada got his first Triple-A start and threw three innings of scoreless ball. The 26-year-old righty, who never got above Low-A in five seasons in the Blue Jays organization, has impressed since signing out of the Frontier League last summer. The Puerto Rico native posted a 2.81 ERA in 64 innings working as a swingman in San Antonio, and has a 2.87 mark with 20 strikeouts in 15.2 frames since joining El Paso. … Ornelas had three hits including a double as he notched his third multi-hit game of September to push his OPS with El Paso up to .854. The strong finish to the season is a remarkable turn-around after hitting .188 in April and .233 in May at Double-A to begin the year and may earn the 2016 signee his first call-up to San Diego. … Michel Baez, who opened the year on the 40-player roster with a chance to make the big league club, came off his second stint on the Development List and surrendered a pair of runs while allowing three hits and walking four. The 27-year-old, who also spent two months on the IL and rehab assignments, owns a 7.18 ERA overall on the year. He’s yielded 11 earned runs and walked 10 in 9.1 PCL innings on the year.

Missions 7, Midland Rockhounds 4

Key Statistics: Ripken Reyes 2-for-5, 3B, HR (6), 3 RBI; CF Jakob Marsee 2-for-3, BB, SB (5); 2B-LF Graham Pauley 2-for-4, 2 2B; 1B Cole Cummings 1-for-4, HR (10), 2 RBI; LF-CF Homer Bush, Jr. 2-for-4; RF Connor Hollis 2-for-4, 2B; RHP Jairo Iriarte 4.2 IP, H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 9 K, HR; RHP Justin Lopez (W, 3-1) 1.1 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 2 K; HR; LHP CD Pelham 1 IP K; RHP Lake Bachar (S, 5) 2 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 3 K

Ripken Reyes is having the best year of his career. (Photo: Vashaun Newman)

Prospect Watch: Jairo Iriarte got the start and walked the first two batters he faced. After a brief meeting on the mound, he returned and struck out the next three to close out the first. On the night, Iriarte struck out nine batters, his best in Double-A and one off his season high in June for Fort Wayne. The hard-throwing righty, who hadn’t gone more than four innings since returning from the bullpen a month ago, got the first two outs in the fifth before issuing back-to-back walks to finish with a season-worst five walks. Both runs came around after his departure, leaving him with three earned in 4.2 innings of work. The lone hit he gave up on the day was the first homer he has allowed in 24.1 Texas League innings. … Ripken Reyes opened the scoring for the visiting Alamo City squad with his sixth home run of the year. In about every offensive category, Reyes, who played college ball at Cal-Berkeley and the University of San Diego, is having a career year. He now has 102 hits on the season, 24 extra-base hits, 30 steals in 37 attempts, has scored 81 runs thanks to drawing 54 walks, and getting hit a body-numbing 46 times in 497 plate appearances. … Homer Bush, Jr., the Padres’ fourth-round pick in the 2023 draft, made his Double-A debut with a pair of hits and nice defensive play in center field. … Jackson Merrill was held out of his third straight game with what has been described as a a minor leg issue.

Carter Loewen got some big outs late in the game. (Photo: Adam Gaddy)

TinCaps 7, Dayton Dragons 1

Key Statistics: Griffin Doersching 1-for4, HR (4), RBI; DH Albert Fabian 1-for-4, HR (4), RBI; SS Kervin Pichardo 3-for-3, 2 HR (8), 2 RBI, BB; RF Tyler Robertson 2-for-4, BB; LF Kai Murphy 1-for-4, HR(1), SF, 3 RBI; LHP Austin Krob (W, 5-3), 6 IP, 3 H, R, 2 BB, 7 K; RHP Keegan Collett 1.1 IP, H, 3 BB, 2 K; RHP Carter Loewen 1.2 IP, BB, 3 K

Austin Krob gave Fort Wayne another big start. (Photo: Adam Gaddy)

Prospect Watch: The TinCaps got another stellar pitching performance by Austin Krob and five home runs by the offense to keep their playoff hopes intact. West Michigan also won, keeping Fort Wayne’s lead at a half-game. If they win on Sunday, they will be in the playoffs for the first time since 2017. Krob had an outstanding outing last Saturday with 11 strikeouts in 6.2 innings and built on it in in one of the more important games of the season for the TinCaps, throwing 95 pitches, 58 for strikes, and only giving up a single run. The lefty, who works off a very good sinker, struck out seven more and now has 124 across 109.1 innings at the two Single-A levels in his first professional campaign. … As good as Krob was, Carter Loewen played a considerable role in the victory. He relieved Keegan Collett with one out and the bases loaded in the eighth inning. Loewen got a strkeout and a soft fly to right field to escape the jam, then worked around an error and a walk to close out the game in the ninth inning. Lowen hasn’t given up a run in five of his last six outings. Coming back from Tommy John surgery, he has shown an ability to go more than just one inning this year. … Offensively, Kervin Pichardo delivered his best day as a pro, reaching base all four times and blasting two solo home runs. On the season, the 21-year-old who came over from the Phillies before the 2022 season has a .796 OPS. In 25 games since the start of August, he owns an OPS well north of 1.000 while chasing less often and cutting his strikeout rate.

Inland Empire 66ers 12, Storm 5

Key Statistics: CF Dillon Head 3-for-4, BB; RF Nick Vogt 1-for-3, BB; SS Nik McClaughry 2-for-4, RBI; 1B Jay Beshears 1-for-4, 3B, 2 RBI; RHP Enmanuel Pinales 5 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 4 K; RHP Xavier Ruiz (L, 2-1) 1.1 IP, 2 H, 6 R, 4 BB

Nik McClaughry’s bat has picked up in September. (Photo: Robert Escalante)

Prospect Watch: Lake Elsinore was up by a run on the road until the bullpen coughed eight runs in the seventh inning. After going 2-for-23 when he first joined the Storm in late August, top 2023 draft pick Dillon Head has been on fire in September with a .385/.429/.577 slash line. The Illinois native had three hits, including his first full-season double, and reached base four times Saturday. … Former University of Arizona Wildcat Nik McClaughry also got off to a slow start as a pro with a .217 batting average in his first month. He has been much better in September, hitting .364 with a .485 on-base percentage to go along with his strong infield defense. … Coming off three straight outings of at least six innings giving up two runs or less, righty Enmanuel Pinales cruised through the first three innings allowing one hit with two strikeouts. But in both the fourth and fifth innings, Inland’s offense piled up three hits and a walk, scoring two runs each time. In 37.2 innings since getting to Lake Elsinore, the 22-year-old has posted a 2.87 ERA while holding opponents to a .230 average.

Posted by John Conniff

John grew up in Poway and has written for MadFriars since 2004. He has written articles for Baseball America, FoxSports San Diego, the El Paso Times, San Antonio Express-News, Amarillo Globe-News, Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette and Pacific Daily News in addition to appearing on numerous radio programs and podcasts. He can also break down the best places to eat for all five of the affiliates. There is no best place to eat in Peoria, Arizona.

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